Nelspruit is one of those special cities. It is not yet completely urbanised as far as the eye can see, but it is busy and big enough to be considered a city. And every city needs a bit of nature in which citizens can escape for a bit of peace and quiet.
The Lowveld Botanical Gardens is just the place to do that.
The Lowveld is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Its warm weather makes for a tropical environment in which all kinds of luscious plants grow. As the capital of the Lowveld, and of Mpumalanga as a whole, Nelspruit is home to the Lowveld Botanical Gardens which is one place where you will see just about every type of indigenous plant in the area.
A Day in the Botanical Gardens
The Lowveld Botanical Gardens is shaped by the Nel River and the Crocodile River, both of which cut through the gardens and create natural boundaries. The rivers meet in the gardens and create a stunning waterfall, which you can see at the Nels and Cascades Viewpoints.
The gardens are one of the 9 National Botanical Gardens of South Africa.
Founded in 1969, after the local Municipality decided that having such a garden would promote tourism, the gardens have become a place of education and conservation. The gardens were officially opened on the 10th of September 1971. The land consists of municipal grounds as well as land donated by the Board of HL Hall and Sons. The gardens cover a total of 165 ha and of all that land, only 30 ha has been carefully cultivated, the rest has been left to grow wild.
The last 40 years have seen many changes to the gardens, which now boasts a tea garden which is ideal for events as well as a children’s play area. But one of the best ways to experience the gardens is to pack a picnic basket and spend your day exploring all the paths before settling down for a snack.
The gardens have a small entrance fee and once inside, visitors have a number of tour options. You can easily spend your whole day enjoying the paths and sights of this beautiful garden.
Along with having a wide variety of plants local to the Lowveld, the gardens also have their very own African Rain Forest. When exploring the forest, you can walk closely along the Crocodile River and across a suspension bridge. This forest is not only filled with local plants, but it also has plants from the Coastal Belt and the Province of Limpopo.
Another interesting attraction is the useful plant’s section. An entire corner of the park is filled with plants that have a particular use, from astringents to plants known to ease pain. With all the information boards, you will learn all about the local plants that can be used as medicine when prepared correctly.